BY DAVE WILLIAMS, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, WORLD PET ASSOCIATION
SuperZoo returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, focused firmly on the partnerships and relationships that truly make the pet industry “Better Together,” a theme that runs through this year’s show.
I’ve worked in the pet industry for 44 years for manufacturers, for retailers and, in later years, as a board member for World Pet Association (WPA). Th is year will be my 16th SuperZoo, and I’ve seen this annual event grow year after year from a small regional show to the most-attended show of its kind in North America, providing a dedicated platform to learn about industry trends and practices, see the latest products for the pet market, build networks, reconnect with old contacts and make new ones.
I can honestly say that seeing SuperZoo in full swing, seeing the fruits of our team’s eff orts to put on an event that brings people together, that works to everyone’s benefi t, is without a doubt the most satisfying experience of my career. It’s challenging to piece each event together seamlessly, and we always strive to improve where we can, as we’re only as good as the experiences of our attendees. It’s a long haul, and by the end of each event we are ready for some R&R (and I don’t mean rock ‘n’ roll!); but it’s ultimately a rewarding experience, and we’re immensely proud of how we continue to evolve and grow.
We expect to welcome around 20,000 pet industry professionals— independent retailers, business owners, buyers, manufacturers, specialists and experts—from across the United States and around the world, to Las Vegas. With almost 300,000 square feet of show fl oor space showcasing the latest products from more than 1,000 manufacturers and suppliers in six easy-to-navigate neighborhoods, SuperZoo 2017 is bigger, bolder and better than ever. There will be more than 820 brand new products launched at the show in the New Product Showcase alone, a testament to the enduring power of the show and its vitality as a showcase for the latest trends.
With so much to see and take in during the show, the one question I’m often asked is what my top tip is for those attending SuperZoo. My answer is always the same: Plan, plan, plan! To get the most out of your show experience, it pays to spend some time pre-show planning who you want to meet with, what you need for your business and come prepared with a checklist of objectives that you can work through during the show.
I love the theme for this year’s show. “Better Together” really does resonate within the pet industry. Animals play a vital role in our lives, as family members, as companions, as service providers and work colleagues. “Better Together” celebrates this, along with the fact that the pet industry is not simply a pet business but a people business. Connecting with our peers at SuperZoo encourages knowledge, strategies, ideas and stories to be shared, creating experiences that further support those personal relationships with customers and their animals, and with our local communities, to provide the personal expertise and local, fi rst-hand knowledge that customers simply can’t get elsewhere.
Once again, SuperZoo is also leading the way in education and learning, with more than 80 specifi cally tailored sessions designed for retailers and pet industry professionals of all types—from gift and independent pet store owners to groomers, service professionals and wellness teams. Support from the grooming industry for SuperZoo goes from strength to strength. For 2017, we have more than $45,000 in prizes at stake, and we expect the grooming contests will inspire creative talent to be better than ever.
Of course, no SuperZoo would be complete without time to let your hair down! In addition to our networking reception, country music star Trace Adkins will bring his trademark highenergy stage show to the House of Blues stage on July 26, exclusively for SuperZoo attendees.
“Better Together”—we’re energized and excited to welcome our friends and colleagues to Las Vegas to reinforce our belief that SuperZoo is the place where the pet industry comes together and gets better.